25. EVERLASTING BIRTH PANGS

Late in spring, Steve and I were at Lowes buying veggies for the garden. He left me with a cart full of plants to go get something in the warehouse…a dangerous thing cause I LOVE flowers. Some dahlias called so I knelt to find the one that wanted to come home with me when I was approached by a tiny, slightly bent, very wrinkled, delightfully enthusiastic ancient Native American woman.

“Come, come. You must see these flowers.” She beckoned pushing a walker cart. I was enchanted by her energy and followed her. “These are the flowers for you.”

She showed me some bright yellow and pink annuals. “Touch them,” she insisted. The flowers were dry, perfectly preserved. I was amazed. “Strawflowers!” She exclaimed. “They’re for you.” I yearned to give her a big hug, but she was so tiny and fragile, I just caressed her shoulder as I thanked her. How could I not buy one?

So I planted a bright yellow strawflower in front and forgot about it…until last Memorial Day. I was on my way to finish my sculpture…and had an uneasy feeling all weekend. Driving over to Grandmother Kathy’s house filled with a familiar feeling of anticipation peppered by trepidation, I was transported back to 1984 driving to UCLA to pick up my first born from the NICU, excited but a little scared. My whole life would change when I brought him home. And now my life was changing again.

I cried the moment Kathy hugged me. “What’s wrong?” About to bring home another life changing creation, I knew that I would never be the same again.

My sculpture came out of the kiln relatively unscathed (a slight crack in the horse’s neck and her left knee…we all have birthmarks and scars, don’t we?) The retouch staining went well, but alas Kathy did not have the right glue to attach the crystal amethyst wings to the ceramic back of the woman so off we went to Lowes.

And Kathy led me right over to a lovely display of strawflowers. “Do you know what these are?” I nodded, as a matter of fact I did, and shared the story of the ancient flower woman with her. She was very excited and after getting the glue and another strawflower plant for each of us, we headed back to her house to attach the wings.

As we waited for the glue to dry, Kathy brought out an essential oil…Helichrysum…she said was from strawflower…yet I knew in holding the tiny vial…that wasn’t quite right…I envisioned a rougher plant… I was hesitant to smell it…She wondered why and I explained that certain odors are powerful memory inducers for me…finally I did…

…and I was in the tomb anointing Yeshua’s hands and feet. Then I went further back to just before the Seder…opening the alabaster jar, Judas reacted to the scent of the helichrysum…not the spikenard, frankincense or myrrh, but the helichrysum because…it was used to heal wounds, to revive…to resurrect…and now he had to do what was asked of him…he didn’t believe and the others, well, they didn’t know what was going on…Then I saw myself well before that last Passover collecting tiny dried yellow flowers from a rough lavender looking plant and simmering them in olive oil until the essence was extracted….Tears poured down my cheeks as I remembered…

Kathy was amazed…she called the essence “everlasting” Afterwards I looked it up online (I love my smart phone!) and found the plant from which the oil is derived….it looked like what I envisioned and the Latin name is “Immortelle”…

I found research on helichrysum for use in gingivitis. I decided to try it on my gums…Steve’s reaction to the smell was strong…he said it made him feel “very upset… please don’t use it again, please” My Mom found it healing, so much so just smelling it relieved a headache… Kathy had the same reaction as Mom…

Now once again I’m astride two worlds…as Jarys would say…the past and the present. Or if there is no time…I’m floating in my river of consciousness between the banks of what was and what will be.

Excerpt from My LoveDance. Available on Amazon

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